Mariana and Her Familia

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062962461.
K-Gr 2–Born out of the author’s own experience growing up, Mariana’s story imparts the challenges and strengths of families that are culturally and geographically distant. Mariana and her Mami are traveling to México to see her abuelita, tíos, tías, primos, and primas. Visiting her large, Spanish-speaking familia in a new country gives Mariana major jitters. When she mistakenly calls abuelita by aguelita, Mariana is overcome with embarrassment. Abuelita beckons to her, “Ven aquí.” Together they read a book about the Big Bad Wolf—un Lobo Hambriento—and Mariana is delighted as Abuelita tells the familiar tale in Spanish. Mariana’s feelings about not belonging fade quickly when she adds her fotografía to her family’s wall of pictures and joins them for a delicious meal. And thus, the joy and love of familia transcends language and distance, making Mariana feel right at home. The dynamism and vibrancy of Mexican culture spills from the page in Meza’s gouache and watercolor pencil illustrations. The use of grayscale for skin tone, pops of painterly font, and playful perspective are unexpected visual twists that make this title a standout.
VERDICT The warmth of Mariana’s close-knit, yet far-flung family practically radiates off the page, and many young readers will relate. An excellent purchase for most collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing